Catherine was my great grandmother. I was born in 1948 but have a shadowy remembrance of her as a very old lady, who was hard of hearing. At that time she lived with my grandparents in either Coburg or East Brunswick. My grandmother, May (Mary) was one of her daughters. I think Hilda was another one. Grandma (Nan) died in 1971, so things are a little hazy.
The story is that after leaving the Orphan's School, Catherine became a governess to a wealthy family and did indeed travel back to Britain on occasion with them. On one of these trips she met the first mate of one such ship, George Whittington. They fell for each other and subsequently married and settled in Melbourne. I don't think I have ever seen a photograph of Catherine but my Aunty Betty Granger (now 90 and living in Moorabbin, Victoria as at 28/01/20)has a portrait of George and I must say he looks to have been a very kind hearted man. He was a committed Christian, though I have read that Catherine was not a fan of the Catholic Church, having been treated harshly as a child. George was baptised, upon the confession of his faith, as a young man in the Warrnambool Church of Christ. So it states at the front of the New Testament he was presented with on the occasion (now in the possession of my cousin, Margaret Granger).
Catherine's parents were Henry Revell and Mary Tobin and I think she was one of four children. There was a boy, also named Henry I believe, who was small of stature and who I believe lived with Catherine in Melbourne. Henry senior was a transported convict, sent to Tasmania around 1840 for stealing 20/-, a substantial sum in those days, from a parson while visiting a prison where Henry was already incarcerated for some other petty crime. Henry was a Londoner I believe. Anyway, that act earn't Henry his free ticket to Australia.
Henry spent five years imprisoned at Port Arthur, whereas the average time was about two years. He was given tickets-of-leave on occasion. At one stage he was reincarcerated for 'plying the female servants of such and such with alcohol. I wonder what he had in mind?? At one stage he went into the haberdashery business and was accused of 'tea-leafing' (stealing knickers and other items from somebody's clothesline). For this he was thrown back into the lock-up, protesting his innocence as the record in the Hobart Mercury testifies. Sure enough he was later acquitted.
Where he met Mary I do not know but she was a pretty Irish lass from a town in Ireland called Killarney. There is no known record of them marrying but co-habitation seemed common in those times. Henry was about 40 and Mary about 19 when they came together. Their union produced I think four children, with our Catherine being one of them. Family legend has it that Mary died of fright by being spied upon in her bedroom by some Peeping-Tom. Her death certificate states that she had an aneurisym and died around the age of thirty.
Being ill-equipped to single-handedly raise his children, Henry surrendered them to the orphanage in Hobart.
Mary was initially buried in the church yard of the Catholic Church. About 18 months ago I tried to find her and Henry's grave sites and discovered that they are both in the cemetery at Cornelian Bay, not far from Hobart Town and overlooking the water. Mary had been moved there about six months before I discovered this and is now in an unmarked grave as is Henry. I stood in the area where they were buried and thanked them in my heart for their sacrifices and toil, which contributed to our family and the Australia they helped make.
On my father's side I have other convicts going back to the second fleet to Sydney in 1790. So if you invite me to your place, keep an eye on your valuables.